International Student Visa Guide
Obtaining a visa to study in the US
Studying in the United States can provide numerous opportunities for education and employment. Before you can enroll in classes, you will need to obtain an F-1 student visa. This visa allows students to enter the U.S. for the purposes of studying. The visa process can be complicated and confusing. The information below can help you be prepared for successfully applying for a visa.
Steps to obtain a visa
- Gain admission to Butler Community College
Work through the enrollment checklist and submit all required documents for admission before the deadline. Once your application is approved, you will need to pay the $75 processing fee to complete admission.
- Receive a Form I-20 and acceptance letter
After you are admitted, a Form I-20 and acceptance letter will be mailed to you. The original copies of these documents are needed for obtaining a visa. Expedited mailing options are available, but shipping usually can take 2-4 weeks or more.
- Pay the SEVIS fee
A scanned copy of your Form I-20 and acceptance letter will be emailed to you the same day that they are placed in the mail. These scanned copies can be used to pay the required $350 SEVIS fee online at https://www.fmjfee.com/#. A printed receipt from this fee is needed to schedule a visa interview appointment.
- Schedule a visa interview
Using your SEVIS fee receipt, you will schedule an appointment at a US Embassy or Consulate where you live. Some countries may have a long wait time for a visa appointment. We recommend being aware of the visa wait time in your country and plan accordingly. Current visa wait times can be looked up here: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html. The visa application fee may be paid at this point in the process (this varies from country to country).
- Apply for the visa
Complete a DS-160 Application For a Nonimmigrant Visa online. The process for this may vary from country to country. You will need to upload a photo during this step (see application for details).
- Attend the interview
Go to the embassy or consulate for your interview. You must have the original versions of your Form I-20 and acceptance letter, as well as your documentation of financial support, academic transcripts, and any evidence showing that you intend to return to your home country after your studies in the US. The consular office will inform you if you have been approved for an F-1 student visa or not. The visa application fee may be paid at this point in the process (this varies from country to country).
- Schedule your travel
If you are approved for an F-1 Student visa, you can begin making plans to travel to Butler Community College. You must arrive at least one week before classes begin, but no more than 30 days before your initial session start date. You should plan travel to Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport (code ICT).
- In case of denial
If the consular officers find that you do not meet the requirements for a student visa, your application for a visa may be denied. If you are denied, you will be given information on which section of the law the officer found you ineligible. Depending on the reason, you may be able to gather further evidence and attempt the interview again, or you may be unable to obtain a visa.
These links will provide additional information on this process.